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Kerry Washington Explains Why She Didn't Boycott The 2016 Oscars

02/28/2016 09:34 EST | Updated 02/28/2016 09:59 EST

Kerry Washington has a solution to the Oscars' diversity problem and it doesn't involve boycotts.

The "Scandal" star explained why she chose to present at the 88th Academy Awards despite outrage for actors of colour to boycott this year's ceremonies.

"A lot of people have asked me why I'm here tonight. And the thing I've been thinking about is that if you look at the history of movements — the history of change — a lot of voices are needed at the table," Washington told ABC's Robin Roberts while on the red carpet.

"I really respect, actually, admire some of the people who aren't here tonight — I really get it. But for me, I felt like my voice, and for my heart, my voice is best used at the table as a new member of the Academy," she added.

Washington was alluding to several prominent black actors and directors, like Spike Lee, or Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who opted not to attend this year's ceremonies over the selection of all-white nominees in 2016.

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But boycotting awards for films isn't part of Washington's plans. She wants to fix the Academy's race problems from the inside.

"I joined the Academy about three years ago, I really want to be part of the conversation to make sure there's institutional change so we never have a year like this again, so that we can be as inclusive as possible."

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